tv [untitled] May 14, 2012 12:00pm-12:30pm EDT
make this decision but i am assuring you it is not to the level that you're discussing now, and that is why as you know we have a very team up there that made a much more deep impact or made a much more deep study of this and we will soon see that next level of analysis which you ask for, and as our chief has said, that if after this next level of analysis that the savings don't pan out as we thought they would, then we will look at relook at the decision about moving that force. >> i appreciate that. i want to -- here is the feedback so we have it on the record from many people who met with the team up there. they felt, and you probably saw the reports, they felt the team came up and already had a program of dismantling versus what are the costs, what are the savings, are they real, are they not. as you see that report come to
you, i would hope you would ask those hard questions. it wasn't just one or two folks that mention this had to me but it was everybody. they felt like it was not about does this make economic sense, does it really have the savings, and at the end of the day this is an economic issue. it is not a strategic issue. it is about how much are we saving? i recognize that. the response we got was somewhat surprising. i would hope you or your folks would take that hard look of are these real savings and then making sure it is not just through the eyes of the air force but stepping one more step out and the dod savings because they may be gross savings and then you may have these other expenses, for example, army may have to pick up more costs which, okay, if that's part of it may be worked in because at the end of the day it is about how much money we need to save for dod, maybe each service has a requirement so i want to make sure we look at that perspective and then there is the
construction budget as you know, there may be needs in j and i want to see how that fits in and not just for the 13 but the longer span. we're on the same page and i do appreciate your folks coming the last week or so and working with us and that's greatly appreciated. >> senator, i will assure you i will look at that report and i wrote down you have a feeling they arrived with a preconceived notion and so we will attack the report in that way and i clearly understand what you're talking about about real savings over the long hundred and other unintended consequences. the team should be focused on those and we'll ask those questions. >> again, i recognize the need and as you know through our markup we did last year, i offered needs and savings and we tried to save the army a lot of money on me ads and somehow got jacked back in and not by you guys but the house taken it back out so we're trying to save a few hundred million there.
we're game to find the savings, but that's make sure they're sustainable savings. again, i have a series of other pieces, but you get the nens, the nepa analysis, when you build housing and all of these other things, it is all a cost that has to be figured into this. i appreciate that. let me end on one last comment, question, and that's on the red flag alaska operation, and as whatever happens and where does that end at the end of the day? is it third wing, the 354th? who owns it at the end of the day? i don't know if you can answer that now. if you can take that and in this analysis that's going to be one of those questions on the red flag exercise and operations who will own that exercise at the end of the day. we know the commitment by the air force, the military, to continue that operation, it is very successful, so i need to know where it lands. >> i will get you a very definitive answer, but i can tell you that we see no change in that.
as you said, senator, the red flag of alaska is absolutely critical to the training we're about to do. as our new strategy talks of the shift to the pacific, clearly this is a pacific focused area, so we anticipate no changes now. i owe you a definitive answer on that. >> fantastic. thank you all very much and thank you for your service and for the alaskans now starting to come back from afghanistan, about 9,000 alaska-based operation folks in the field in afghanistan, and they're all starting to come back. thank you for the service. it is a pleasure to see them in afghanistan when i was there the last trip. thank you all very much. >> thank you, senator begich. >> we have these hearings and we all hear about the dedication what, our troops are doing and all the services and general austin, and i am kind of like you. when i was in the army, i never believed that we could reach
this stage where we are today with an all volunteer army. it wasn't an all volunteer army. i was a product of the draft, and i still think it is a good idea and you know, i look at this and i see what to me it is just a less of a concentration on defending america and we have -- when senator ayotte was talking about the new risk paradigm, i used to chair this committee. when republicans were majority, i was chairman of the committee and i have always had i been wrong on this, i have always thought that risk equals lives, doesn't it? you increase if you're willing to increase your risk, you're willing to accept more loss of lives. am i wrong? >> senator, i think you're right. it is also important the accomplishment of the mission and in loss of equipment, so i think what you want to do is
have a force with the capabilities and capacities that allows you to accomplish the mission with minimal loss or life or equipment. it is what we need to have. >> i understand that. i love all of you guys and i agree that's a problem. we're changing right now. general breedlove, i am reading from your statement, you said as we reduce our force, we will retain the capability to execute each of these missions but we'll no longer have capacity to execute them all in parallel. as a result, the days of engaging in two large scale wars while some responding to a myriad of humanitarian crisis and engaging in short notice campaigns will not be possible. i agree with you. you had pretty strong statements in there. when you were talking about the age of your aircraft, i know that. i know how the kc-35s are and the b-52s, and i know that the
american people really would expect more but they don't know how bad this is. let me mention one area that will make everyone uncomfortable. that is, i was very close. i served in the house with panetta, and i know that what he said didn't really come from his heart and obviously no one is going to be able to say that. he said that last week that the defense department waged war on global warming by promising to spend bill kwons of taxpayer dollars on more green stuff and all of that. right now we're trying to survive this thing. when democrats and republicans, all three of them, talked about this half trillion dollars and about sequestration coming along, it is a disarming of america. i happen to be the ranking member and i used to when i was the chairman of the public works
committee and i know this obsession on all of this global warming stuff and i also know that the trends have totally changed and just came out the other day only 19% of the tv meteorologists believe, number one, global warming is taking place and, number two, the man made gases are causing it, and yet i read right here and i appreciate very much, admiral, when you were talking about every one dollar increase in the price per barrel of fuel is approximately $31 million of additional cost annually above the budgeted level. we're talking about huge amounts of money here. it is great. if the president, and he does, want to use the military as a test tube for the green agenda, he can do it, but people need to know he does it and you guys are in the awkward position of having to say things that fortified that the committee and
let me just ask you this. this is a direct quote from last week. in the 21st century reality is that there are environmental threats that constitute threats to our national security. all right. any one of the four of you want to volunteer to explain to me because i don't understand what are these environmental threats that are comparable to the terrorists who are out there? anybody? i don't either. anyway, i want to get into one thing here on the f-35s. by moving this program to the right, the president is able to say, well, we're not reducing the number of f-35s. however, during the cuts, so that the president's budget request cuts the f-35 budget by $1.6 billion in fiscal year '13 and 15.1 over the fit, and
that's true. the fy '13 cuts result in 179 fewer planes being produced during this period. granted, later on down the road they may be produced but we're talking right now is when the problem is. i gave a talk i guess on the senate floor but i researched it pretty good. i said it matches the figures we're getting from you guys, in total since 2008 the department of defense has spent at least $4 billion on climate change and energy efficiency activities and that had nothing to do with the actual meeting of real defense needs. the same $4 billion could have been used to purchase 30 new f-35s and it could have been used to purchase 28 new -- if we kept on the f-22s for the budget four years ago and that program or the c-135 aviation
modernization program. i think we all agree, you certainly you agree, don't you, general breedlove in the significance of that program? >> yes, sir. >> i think everybody does. so let me ask you. do you really believe that it is more important to be experimenting with this green stuff than it is to go ahead with that program, aviation modernization program? that's axed. that's done in this budget. >> senator, i can't speak to the broader dod programs included in that amount. on the navy side we're putting a significant amount of our investment in efficiency, and making our forces more efficient. >> that's not the point. i am getting to how important this program is which i think is very significant, and i have a lot of quotes here from all of you guys talking about how significant this program is, and the fact that is knocked out of
this budget for the benefit of a green test tube experiment that the military is being forced to do. let me say this. i know my time expired and i have to leave anyway, but i can remember back when who is going to be secretary of defense when we were -- yeah, back when rumsfeld was before our committee, and it was a confirmation hearing and i said to him, this is way back when we were majority, i guess about ten years ago, and i said, you know, the american people believe that we have the very best of everything and we don't, and certainly general austin, you would agree. there are five country that is can make a better one than what we had. i said if you're going to take over this position and i can say the same thing to panetta, but i didn't do it during that confirmation hearing, you're going to be advised by a lot of smart generals.
there are a lot of smart generals out there. all four of you are as smart as you can be but you're going to be wrong. i recall the last year i was in the house on the armed services committee with i would say our current secretary who is seated next to me, we had someone testifying in ten years we would no longer need ground troops. so what is the answer? how can we meet the expectations of the american people that our number one concern should be defending america, not all of this other stuff and that we have the best of everything and our kids go out in battle and they have the best equipment. his answer was this. he said we probably should go back to what we did over the last century. he said the average, in fact right on this number in times of war n times of peace, for 100 years in this country, that we spent 5.7% of our gdp on defending america. at that time it was dropping down precipitously and this is after the clinton administration and now we're looking at about half of that.
so i guess what i am saying, i am not asking any questions here. i am saying you're doing a great job. we're doing a lousy job because we're not dealing you a hand. you need to have a better hand. thank you, madam chairman. >> thank you. i am going to resist the temptation to do any rebuttle because i want to stayd. >> this may be a good time to do it. >> i will wait until you leave. i am not dumb. i think what's really awkward is when people like you are kind of pulled into some of the politics that swirl around this place. we all do this politics stuff all the time up here and one of the things i admire so much about our military is the loyalty and support that you give one another and you stay focused on your mission and that
you try as much as you possibly can to stay away from politics and you understand the commander in chief is the commander in chief, and i have deep respect for you in that regard. i want to talk about non-standard equipment, the services have invested billions of dollars in non-standard equipment since the beginning of combat operations which have ranged from m-wraps to flat screen tvs, and i know there are various efforts to look at the nse and to figure out future usefulness in that regard and this is one of those things that can get left in the corner of the cupboard as we focus on standard equipment and with all the protocols we have in place for standard equipment. what is your all's best estimate on the overall size of the non-standard equipment and what are we going to do with all of this stuff and what i am really worried about is with my background as an auditor, i am really worried about the accountability piece on this. i am worried about whether or not we're doing anything in a way that could resemble joint,
and whether or not we're havidua active efforts and how we're going to transition out of operational tempo to a different kind of tempo and can you address the non-standard equipment issue for me? >> thank you, senator, and certainly i share your concern about how much non-standard equipment we're able to maintain over time. as you well know, 60% of our cost, lifecycle sustainment is lifecycle cost is sustainment, and so we have to be able to afford to keep what we have on hand and we have to choose to transition it to some other place. we are very concerned about that in the army. we're taking a hard look at numbers of vehicles, numbers of weapons that we're going to keep
on hand. we're going through that assessment right now, and i have even gone down to visit a company arms room recently to take a look at what our soldiers are actually required to maintain. of course when the vice chief of staff shows up in a company arms room it is typically an emotional event for that unit. >> i think calling it an emotional event is one of those diplomatic words. i don't think they would call it emotional, general, probably something other than that. >> i have a real concern about how much equipment we're asking our troops to maintain that we may not be -- that may not be useful to us anymore and we may not be able to afford to sustain. so we're going through a very deliberate process of making sure that we keep what we need and we transition things that we don't need and can't afford and that will take us time to work through that. clearly we share your concern.
>> what about the m wraps? do we have repair marts to buy in supply? are we going to have to continue to rely on contractor logistics? that's i think a big question mark right now. what's the answer on the m-wrap issue? >> certainly we won't be able to afford to rely on contractor logistics for the foreseeable future because as you know, that's very expensive, and so we're going through and doing an assessment on how many m wraps we're going to keep and what the disposition of those is going to be and then again we'll outline what the maintenance and supply chain will be as a result of that. >> i want to get to guam before we leave. thank you, general, for that. did anybody else have anything you want to weigh in on? general breedlove? >> ma'am, it is really less about a non-standard equipment but the worry i have is we have had a period of time where really good ideas have been
brought to the battlefield and quickly adopted to help our soldiers and marines on the ground and the mc-12 liberty aircraft is a shining example of getting it right and also we have some examples where we have multiple starts to try to get to capabilities and others where we have several that are competing and many in the same mission space, and i am concerned that we are able to get to the right number and type and then transition them into long-term use and we have been able to do some of this work because of oco money and now as the oco money goes away, we have to start making prudent decisions about some of these multiple starts in similar missions. >> i think that's really a good point, general. when you have oco money, it is almost embedded in that that you keep looking around and trying different things and it almost breeds a certain inefficiency that is required by the nature
of the mission, but now it is really imperative that we decide which of those starts are worth continuing to go down. i mean, as i said before, one of the biggest problems our military have if you want to call it a problem is there is nothing you guys don't think you can do. when you're going down a road and you're hitting bumps, sometimes you just keep deciding you're going to go over the bumps and keep going down the road instead of saying maybe we need to pull the plug on this journey, maybe this is a road we can't afford to go down, and i am hopeful that what you're talking about there, general breedlove is exactly that and we can't afford to go down multiple passes, especially if there is overlay and duplication which i don't need to tell he has happened a few times. >> i would like to follow up and give you some degree of confidence we recognize the challenge you raised and we're actually have a process in place to look at it. in our case just on order of magnitude we have about 600 pieces of non-standard equipment
as a result of the last ten years. we have gone through and we're in the process of continuing to go through each and every item to determine which would be transition to program of record and to give you some idea, we probably will have transitioned about one third of those 600 to programs of record to date. the other question which i think is an important question is where are we with regard to integration and in the joint world and i think we all sit on the joint requirements oversight committee. we also have sub board gnat organizations and the marine corps board that takes a look at things unique to ground forces, and i am pretty confident, particularly in the case of non-standard equipment that we have the right processes in place to look at that equipment and make the property decisions about transition and as general breedlove alluded to and we are now as a result of our significant experience identifying those programs that had some program is, some years ago, and absolutely don't have a future and in those cases recognizing again the period of austerity we're in and the
recognizing the tail associated with some of those programs and making sure those programs, you know, are ended and we properly dispose of the equipment that has been useful in afghanistan but perhaps will not be useful and not be a part of our future. >> i think that's -- good luck if that equipment is built in more than 25 states. seems to be a habit our contractors have, if they have pieces in 25 states they immediately have senators protective and parochial and i know you have not witnessed that in your time that you have been here. my time is up. i know my colleagues have more questions. i do want, general dunford to make sure if i don't have an opportunity to question again that you address the marine corps as it relates to guam and as we look at our budget and i haven't had a chance to sit down with senator ayotte yet about the authorization budget, i
really am anxious that we do not -- that everyone stays in the corral so to speak until we're certain what the future is in guam. i don't want to waste one dime doing anything in guam until we get to reconsideration of the agreement to a place that we think it makes sense for the united states, for our military, and for the people of guam and japan. thank you for that. senator begich. excuse me, senator ayotte. >> thank you, madam chair. appreciate you raising the issue of guam. i think it is an important one with what we need to do in markup. i wanted to ask each of you and i raised it in my opening statement. we know that defense sequestration is coming in january if the congress doesn't fail to act to come up with other responsible budget savings, and i am a strong advocate for us doing that.
we have heard from each of the services as well as from our secretary of defense the devastating impact of defense sequestration including hollowing out our forces along with all the other consequences, but what i would like each of you to address for me is timing because i am worried that there is a general feeling around here that we can kick this can until december to make the decision on how to avoid defense sequestration and undermining our national security. i met with a group of our defense industrial base the other day and they pointed out to me there are things that they are going to be required to do, for example, issue layoff notices under the warn act and other legal requirements they will have to undertake. can you help me, each of you, if we wait until december, what are the disadvantages and consequences of doing that as opposed to resolving this issue much sooner, particularly for
each of our service branchs? because i think this timing issue is very important for people around here to understand. >> a degree with your assessment, senator, if this does come to pass it would be devastating and because of that i think it would drive us to go back and redo some of our planning and certainly make new assessments. that takes time. that certainly con assumsumes organizational energy, and we are concerned about that. i think from an army perspective, again, we have not done any planning on this as you know, as you indicated, but the back of the envelope calculations are such that this would probably mean a loss of probably another 100,000 troops,
50% of those in the garden reserve and with those kinds of impacts that probably would drive us to go back and relook at our planning efforts here. >> general, that would be in addition to the 72,000 that we're looking in terms of end strength reductions. >> yes. >> another 100,000. >> right. >> thank you. would that not take time and obviously thinking about this concept of, well, first of all, if we're going to reduce armed forces another 100,000, how do we not break the faith there? i mean, i don't know how you can possibly not break faith, but even the implementation of something so devastating, so wouldn't it be more productive if we could tell you sooner that we resolved this for you? isn't there an urgency? that's what i need -- i think that's what we need to appreciate around here. would you agree with me there is
some urgency that you not have this hanging over your head? >> absolutely. if we didn't have that hanging over our head we would be in much better shape. >> thank you. admiral. >> i think there is two significant impacts. if you look at sequestration and the impact on the navy from the $600 billion defense reduction would be about 15 billion a year and that's the amount of the entire ship construction account we would have to figure out how to spread in our budget and reduce. waiting until december and then not having a resolution at that point would allow very short cycle for planning. it will not allow us to make efficient or effective choices. it would also cause us to go back and relook at the strategy because the force that comes out of sequestration is not the force that can support the current strategy that we're operating under. second concern would be the industrial base impacts that you alluded to. our industrial shipyards and our providers and corporations have
to start making some investment decisions with respect to notification of employees, if there is furloughs, if we're forced to break contracts and not be able to execute them under a sequestration scenario, so i would indicate that the uncertainty in our industrial base would affect our suppliers and then if it were to occur, would greatly affect our industrial base sustainment over the long-term. >> admiral, if we lose some of those small employers, isn't the risk they don't come back? >> that risk certainly exists in many of our more complex procurement programs. we're down to single vendors or single suppliers that we're their predominant customer. it would be very difficult for some to recover. >> senator, i would like to start this by going back to your opening comments and when you quoted president reagan. we have a tendency to view sequestration as a bung issue but it is really not a budget issue. it is a reordering of our national priorities what, we won't be able to do and
certainly at the strategic level i think what the secretary has said is we won't be able to implement the strategy as currently written if sequestration goes into effect. i can tell from you a marine corps perspective, we're at 182,000 right now. we're at the margin of being able to meet the strategy, in other words, we balance the risk. i have talked to you in private that we believe that 182,000 marines with that number we can meet the strategy that secretary panetta articulated and just like with general austin mentioned automatic 10% personnel cut unless personnel is exempted and an automatic 10% cut on the marine corps which is another 18,000 right away if we were to reduce. if we were to be cut another 18,000 we would not have adequate capabilities and capacities to meet a single major contingency operation, so that's fairly significant. i think the other point that you raise that is absolutely true is we would absolutely not be able to keep faith with our people. the